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Trailer Deconstruction: Wes Anderson’s ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’

The Playlist By Rodrigo Perez | The Playlist October 18, 2013 at 1:47PM

Wes Anderson movies are possibly the closest thing to an event movie for the … I was going to say something like "indie nerd cinephile set," but the truth is Anderson’s films are beloved by all kinds of audiences—those who love tentpoles, cineastes, sci-fi aficionados, etc. His visual vocabulary is so idiosyncratic, so singular and distinct, it has practically become a brand or genre unto itself and it can be appreciated by anyone who simply loves movies.
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GBH, 1.33.1, Academy Ratio

Here’s some other aspects of “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and Anderson’s previous films to consider.

Fonts
It looks like he's finally moved on from the Future Bold font. “Moonrise Kingdom” employed a custom cursive font by designer Jessica Hische and the font for 'Budapest Hotel' is Archer (Bold/Semibold) which looks like the font Rockwell's slightly upscale older brother. (Thanks to Slate for the tip.)

Screenwriting
While past collaborators include Owen Wilson, Roman Coppola, Jason Schwartzman and Noah Baumbach, “The Grand Budapest Hotel” is the first feature-length screenplay to be produced that Anderson has sole writing credit on. It should be noted that he also had sole credit on his lovely 'Darjeeling' short "Hotel Chevalier,” and also went solo on the unproduced “The Rosenthaler Suite” he wrote for Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment. However, the story-by credit does have a co-author and that’s Hugo Guinness. He’s an artist whose illustrations can be glimpsed at Eli Cash’s apartment in "The Royal Tenenbaums" (just to the right of the giant paintings by Miguel Calderon), and he also voiced a farmer character in “Fantastic Mr. Fox.”

Recurring Wes Anderson Motif's

GBH, star crossed lovers

Young star-crossed lovers: Amidst the mile-a-minute screwball antics in the trailer, you get your first peek at what may be the true center of the film: a budding relationship between Tony Revolori and Saoirse Ronan’s characters. (Take note of the penultimate shot just before the title card as the two come together in embrace.) It’s a theme seen most recently in “Moonrise Kingdom” but goes as far back as Ritchie and Margot in “The Royal Tenenbaums.”

GBH, hotels

Hotels: “The Royal Tenenbaums” has the Lindbergh Palace Hotel which unceremoniously kicks out Royal (who later goes to work there as an elevator operator), “The Hotel Chevalier” is obviously named after its locale, as is “The Grand Budapest Hotel.”

GBH, hotel elevators

Hotels means hotel elevators and old school/pre war ones at that, which come with operators to run them. “The Royal Tenenbaums” has Dusty and Royal and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” has Gustave, Zero and one other unidentified character working the buttons and levers.

GBH, trains

Trains: The scuffle towards the end of the trailer looks to take place in a train car, not unlike where Wes set his 2007 film “The Darjeeling Limited,” which was named after the train where the bulk of the story is set.

Cad surrogate fathers: Father/son relationships are well documented in Wes Anderson films—“Rushmore” has Herman Blume and Bert Fischer, “The Royal Tenenbaums” has Royal, “The Life Aquatic” has Steve Zissou, “Fantastic Mr. Fox” has a father/son dynamic and even the ghost of a deceased father haunts the brothers in “The Darjeeling Limited.” But a specific type of surrogate father, the cad, has appeared in several as well. Max Fischer’s stand-in father figure Herman Blume cheats on his wife with abandon as does Royal Tenenbaum. The surrogate father motif is alive and well in “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” as M. Gustave seems to be jackass louche who has his way with women including the very old and recently deceased Madame D.

GBH, The recurring cast members

The recurring cast members: Edward Norton, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, Harvey Keitel, Bill Murray, and Bob Balaban (who is unseen in the trailer) are all back for 'Budapest.' The biggest news to celebrate may be that after several years of absence, Owen Wilson also returns to the fold for the first time since 2007 (though he had a small voice role in “Fantastic Mr. Fox”). Anderson seems to keep expanding members of his troupe and this time it appears to be Jude Law, Tom Wilkinson, Mathieu Amalric, Saoirse Ronan, and newcomer Tony Revolori as well as a not-seen-in-the-trailer “Blue Is The Warmest Color” star Léa Seydoux. Once you appear in a Wes Anderson movie, like recent additions Harvey Keitel and Adrien Brody, you tend to pop up again and again.

Sucker punch gag: One of the biggest laugh out loud moments in the trailer is the roundtable sucker punch, which is a gag that Anderson appears to be fond of. In 'The Life Aquatic' Steve Zissou memorably punched out his son Ned with the line, "You just smile and act natural ... and then you sucker punch him."

The awkward quick bolt get-away: Another quick gag is Gustave making a mad dash away from the authorities which is similar to one character who does the same thing in the 'The Life Aquatic' and Herman Blume does it in “Rushmore” as well.

GBH, wrought iron fences (skip)

Wrought Iron Fences: If the image of a sturdy iron fence encasing a building looks oddly familiar, it’s because we’re not the only ones who have worn out our Criterion “Rushmore” disc.

GBH, heist movie

Heist film: Watching the trailer closely and you can begin to see the elements come together (a painting, a jailbreak, a mad chase) that it appears Anderson (however loosely) is returning to the genre he made his debut with 18 years prior: the heist film. However increasingly stylized his work has become over the years, that should give even old school “Bottle Rocket” fans something to be excited for.

Music
From what we've been hearing the film will be a strictly scored affair by Alexandre Desplat (that means no pop music interludes from The Kinks, etc.) and has been highly influenced by Russian folk music as can be heard in the trailer. This isn't a total surprise as "Moonrise Kingdom" had a bare minimum of pop songs (some Hank Williams can be heard briefly on the car radio) and as this is a '30s set period piece, it makes sense to move further away from anachronistic pop.

This article is related to: Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Trailers, Film Trailers, Features, Feature


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